A soft melody played in the background, but nobody heard it over the conversation and laughter. In every corner of the old house cousins and siblings reminisced about growing up or bragged about new accomplishments. In the backyard the newest generation squealed and giggled playing tag. And the elderly matron drank in the moment and said to herself, “My cup overflows.”

For three thousand years David’s overfilled cup has been a symbol of blessing and prosperity (Psa. 23:5). Even those ignorant of its origin, know its meaning. But knowing the symbol isn’t the same as knowing the blessings. During his reign David received fame, wealth, and a large family. Because of his missteps he also witnessed sorrow and betrayal. Yet, he said his cup was full. David knew his cup was filled with heavenly blessings, not earthly treasures no matter how dear.

Too often people attempt to fill their own cup of blessing. They go to school, get an education, and work hard. They get married and have kids. They buy nice homes, make nice friends, and wear nice clothes. It’s not just the American dream, it is the good life and they have it. They feel their cup is overflowing and they’re drinking from their saucer. But their cup is full of the wrong things.

The problem isn’t what they put in the cup, but that they try to put anything in it at all. Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mat. 5:3). Happiness comes when people stop filling their own cup, and instead offer an empty vessel to God and let him fill it. An impoverished spirit means emptying ourselves of ourselves and allowing God to fill us with himself. David said elsewhere, “The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup” (Psa. 16:5)

Too many people refuse to give God the opportunity to control and fill the cup. Some may fear the blessings God gives will hamper their lifestyles. Others fear giving up control to a God who is so far away. Some only want to keep up with the Joneses, not God.

Some Christians lack the poverty of spirit to be truly blessed by God. Their hesitation to empty themselves can stem from a false sense of spiritual security—they think their ticket is punched. They have handled life so far, there is no need to change it now. As a result, true spiritual happiness is forfeited for an earthy facsimile of what people of the world hold dear.

Those who are poor in the spirit don’t measure the preciousness of this life, but the preciousness of the eternal life. Jesus described the impoverished spirit later in his sermon, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Mat. 6:19-21).

-Sam Dilbeck


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